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[zemst-voh; Russian zyem-stvuh] /ˈzɛmst voʊ; Russian ˈzyɛm stvə/
noun, plural zemstvos
[zemst-vohz] /ˈzɛmst voʊz/ (Show IPA).
Russian History.
one of a system of elected local assemblies established in 1864 by Alexander II to replace the authority of the nobles in administering local affairs after the abolition of serfdom: became the core of the liberal movement from 1905 to 1917.
Origin of zemstvo
1860-65; < Russian zémstvo, derivative of zemlyá land, earth; see humus Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for zemstvo
Historical Examples
  • And in the evening she would hold forth about the zemstvo and schools.

  • The service ended, the Tsar receives the members of the zemstvo.

    The Russian Opera Rosa Newmarch
  • I have saved the zemstvo from expenditure even on disinfectants.

    Letters of Anton Chekhov Anton Chekhov
  • Don't think of me as a literary man while I am in the service of the zemstvo.

    Letters of Anton Chekhov Anton Chekhov
  • Let him come and see how our zemstvo doctors work and what they do for the people.

  • The zemstvo and municipal bodies were advised to keep from political utterings.

    Our Revolution Leon Trotzky
  • Out of the total of its revenue the zemstvo spends about twenty-eight per cent.

    Russia Donald Mackenzie Wallace
  • To this cry of alarm the zemstvo was neither deaf nor indifferent.

    Russia Donald Mackenzie Wallace
  • Instead of adopting this simple procedure, what does the zemstvo do?

    Russia Donald Mackenzie Wallace
  • The younger sister, Genya, was silent while they were talking of the zemstvo.

British Dictionary definitions for zemstvo


/ˈzɛmstvəʊ; Russian ˈzjɛmstvə/
noun (pl) -stvos
(in tsarist Russia) an elective provincial or district council established in most provinces of Russia by Alexander II in 1864 as part of his reform policy
Word Origin
C19: from Russian, from zemlya land; related to Latin humus earth, Greek khamai on the ground
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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